ban in New York. Disappointingly, Canada sat
out this negotiation, as did the United States and
its allies that count on the protection of the U.S.
nuclear umbrella. In doing so, Canada is out of
sync with an international consensus that these
talks are not only necessary, but long overdue.
Countries with nuclear weapons capabilities
fear their reliance on a potential nuclear defence
is being challenged, but that’s precisely the point.
“There is an inherent immorality to nuclear weapons whereby their only conceivable use would
cause catastrophic harm to human life and the
ecosystem,” adds Jaramillo.
Ploughshares’ research and policy expertise
allows it to speak as a respected voice in the inter-
national peace and disarmament community. And
it bolsters the position Canadian churches have
taken, collectively and individually, on such mat-
ters as nuclear non-proliferation and Canadian
arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Ploughshares also
maintains widely used resources such as the
Butler points out that recent citizen-led movements—from
the Arab Spring to Idle No More to Black Lives Matter—
have all committed to non-violent action for social change.
“Civilian peace organizations are of crucial importance in
keeping pressure on governments of all stripes to limit their
use of military power, seek non-militarized means of trans-
forming oppressive regimes, and regulate the manufacture
and trade in weapons.”
In addition to Mission & Service support, Ploughshares
receives contributions from many United Church individuals and
groups, including United Church Women
groups and congregations. Butler says this
reflects the priority that international peace
work has among people in the church.
It is through the work of partners like
Ploughshares that Isaiah’s vision of putting down our swords and beating them
into ploughshares will be realized.
Tilman Lewis is an editor and resource
co-ordinator with the United Church’s
General Council office in Toronto.
Simmering international conflicts and volatile leaders are front-page news again. Alarmingly, many of these tensions involve states that are armed with
nuclear weapons. In this atmosphere, the work of Mission &
Service partner Project Ploughshares is particularly relevant.
A division of the Canadian Council of Churches, Ploughshares
does research work and advocacy to prevent armed violence
and build sustainable peace. In a nutshell, the organization
is “the voice and collective action of Canadian churches’
theological commitment to establishing peace with justice,”
says Paula Butler, the United Church’s representative on
Ploughshares’ Governing Committee.
The organization’s work includes regulating international
trade in small arms, monitoring Canadian arms exports,
Unlike other weapons of mass destruc-
tion—for example, chemical and bio-
logical weapons—nuclear weapons are
allowed under international law. Jara-
millo recently attended the United Nations
negotiations aimed at a nuclear weapons
By Tilman Lewis
COMMUNITY AND JUSTICE WORK
Lay down my sw
Project Ploughshares strives to
create peace in a chaotic world
Statue outside the
United Nations building
in New York City.